Originally published on Medium
As our daily lives move increasingly online, the personal data we use to exchange in online profiles and transactions also increases, meaning awareness of the potential risks associated with the privacy of this data is more important now than ever.
Data Privacy Day, observed annually on Jan. 28, is a global effort to raise awareness about data privacy and to educate individuals on how to secure their personal information. This day commemorates the signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with individual’s privacy, automatic processing of data and its protection, which took place on Jan. 28, 1981.
To celebrate this day, Bixal offers a few thoughts on how to “own” and “respect” personal data to better protect your privacy, as well as what we are doing as a company to champion data privacy and cybersecurity in our work.
Why Data Privacy is Important
The Internet has become a necessary tool for nearly all people living in a modern society. We often sign up or register for an online service or platform without truly understanding their privacy policies, how they are going to handle our personal information or whether they are going to be sharing our data with third parties. While these measures are required, sometimes by law, they’re not always intuitively presented to users.
Data privacy is largely an overlooked topic considering we have seen increased growth in data breaches in recent years. Unfortunately, sometimes these breaches end up exposing personal, or otherwise sensitive data, for example your full name, date of birth, social security number and home address. Other examples include financial data, such as bank account numbers and credit card information.
While providing personal data can be beneficial for the services we care about and depend on, this data, if exposed, could be used for malicious intent and fraudulent purposes by unauthorized parties and cybercriminals.
How to Protect Your Personal Information
As an individual, you should “Own Your Privacy.” Here’s a metaphor, and one to remember — treat personal data like you treat your money: Value it. Protect it. Save it.
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) put together a fantastic online tool with a list of some of the most popular services with direct links to update your privacy settings for each of those services. Please follow this link to find the “Manage Your Privacy Settings” tool.
It is recommended and generally a good idea to frequently review the apps you have downloaded on your mobile device and any other internet-connected devices. Major product developers have stepped up in the data awareness and privacy space to allow users more autonomy as to who and what can track their data by adjusting device settings. Additionally, you should delete any unused apps. It not only saves space on your device; you also don’t want dormant apps tracking your activity.
- Are you an iPhone user? Check out these helpful tips from Mashable.
- Carry an Android? Learn about these security settings from Computerworld.
As a business, we “Respect Privacy.” Our Bixal Security Team helps to educate employees on data privacy and cybersecurity topics pertinent to their projects and our federal partners. Data Privacy Day is also an excellent day to show transparency and let customers know that we care about how their data is collected and utilized.
2021 Data Privacy Champions
Bixal takes pride in the work that we do and appreciates the trust our federal partners have in our team. We understand the importance of data privacy and are proud to be part of the 2021 Data Privacy Day Champions. We fully support the efforts of the NCSA to spread awareness on this topic and to encourage everyone to learn more about how to safeguard and protect personal data.
We hope you’ll join us in bringing visibility and transparency about data and data protection to the online community. Happy Data Privacy Day!